More Weld Magic At The Curragh
Punters will be treated to not just one Cesarewitch this weekend, but two, courtesy of Sunday’s 2m handicap at the Curragh (4.20).
One of the most interesting angles when looking back at past winners of this race is the excellent recent record of 3yo’s, who won four of the last six renewals, yet only one representative of the Classic generation runs on Sunday, Asbury Boss.
Michael Halford’s 3yo colt got off the mark at the fourth attempt when landing a small maiden at Listowel last month (1m4f, yielding), and is open to stacks of improvement. Whether the extra four furlongs will suit is anyone’s guess, but this colt remains an interesting contender from an age perspective at least.
Of the last 10 Irish Cesarewitch winners…
10 returned 20/1 or shorter – others were 0-72. Those very fancied at 6/1 or shorter were 4-12 (3 others placed)
10 carried 9st4lb or lower
10 were officially rated 94 or lower
10 either ran over 2m or stepped up in trip from last time – others were 0-38
10 made the top two during last three runs – others were 0-52
9 were 3-5yo’s – others were 1-102
9 won only two handicaps or fewer – others were 1-49
9 were beaten no more than 4 lengths last time – others were 1-121
8 had 2-5 handicap runs (13%) – others were 2-120 (1%)
Those that ran at Listowel last time were only 1-56
D Weld won it twice
The above stats show that Dermot Weld won this race twice during the last decade, and he relies on Hidden Universe and Grecian Tiger this time around.
The former arrives having won a 2m handicap at Galway in July, and has an ideal “unexposed” profile having run in no more than 5 handicap races. Grecian Tiger has a similar profile and caught the eye in a C&D handicap in August (good), keeping on well into fifth (of 15). Prior to that, he was beaten only 3l into second by Quick Jack, one of the main fancies in Saturday’s Cesarewitch at Newmarket.
But, there are a number of other major yards in search of Sunday’s big pot, including Willie Mullins, who runs the 7yo, Clondaw Warrior.
A 2m winner over hurdles, Clondaw Warrior has shown improvement on the level of late, winning two of his last three races over 1m4f and 1m6f. He is also equipped with a sharp turn of foot, which could be used that to good effect if the race doesn’t turn into a slog.
Then there is Aidan O’Brien, who enters both El Salvador and Marchese Marconi. The former has top weight to overcome, which looks a concern as each of the last 10 winners carried 9st4lb or lower, while Marchese Marconi seems one-paced and has already had 6 runs in handicaps – more than ideal based on trends.
Therefore, the likes of Tony Martin’s 7yo, Ted Veale, is less exposed in Flat handicaps and arrives in terrific form having won a Grade 3 chase a few weeks ago (2m, good). While he never figured in this summer’s Ebor at York (1m6f, good), he was a strong-finishing fourth in the 2013 Ebor (soft) and has a big handicap like this in him.
While Asbury Boss is interesting as the only 3yo, it could pay to split stakes on both of Dermot Weld’s pair, Hidden Universe and Grecian Tiger. Both have ideal backgrounds and could give Weld another victory in this prestigious race.